By Chris Slater

I tried to kill myself on my 30th birthday. Well, not really: I ate a Whopperito — a combination Whopper and burrito — from Burger King. That’s pretty much the same thing, right? August 18, 2016 was a rather ho-hum, normal, fairly-boring day. Maybe I was expecting too much. It’s supposed to be a big deal, right?

I thought turning 30 would be a more pivotal moment in my life. Like, I would see some sort of big, bright light and all of the confusion and irresponsibility and bad decision-making skills of my 20’s would suddenly no longer exist. Nope. At 30 and now beyond, I’m the same guy that I was at 29. Another year older and deeper in debt, to quote some country singer I’ve never actually listened to.

[On my 30th birthday, the Page County, Virginia Chamber of Commerce had all of those present sing “Happy Birthday” to me during a “Business After Hours” networking event.]
How did I expect things to change by the time I turned 30? There are two main areas of my life that I figured would be a lot different — money and sex. I assumed I would be having a lot more of both by this point.

For starters, I expected to have a larger bank account by the time my third decade started. That old adage is very true — $1,000 is a lot of money to owe and not a lot of money to have. I’m doing a little better than I used to, at least. When online surveys ask me for my income, I now proudly check the bubble for the second-lowest bracket.

Nobody imagines a sensible future. Ask 8-year-old Chris where he wants to be at 30, and I doubt he would have said “Getting by with enough money to pay the bills and a little extra to save.” But, that’s where I’m at. And, I guess it’s a good spot to be at.

I remember the days of making minimum wage at Pizza Hut and later pretending to be a nice guy so people would give me tips when I waited tables at Outback Steakhouse. So, things could always be worse.

Biggie used to say, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” If that’s true, I will gladly take on a few additional problems. I have enough already; a couple extra won’t change anything.

Speaking of problems… where are the ladies at? People my age are getting married, having kids, in long-term relationships, settling down. I have none of that. Just a few consistent friends with assorted benefits. Do I want all that other stuff? I don’t know, and I don’t think so.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve decided to cut back on my debauchery and I don’t frequent bars as often as I used to. What I’ve learned is that I don’t know how to meet women at places that aren’t dark, dirty and serve spirits of an imbibing nature. So, maybe that’s a goal for my 30’s — learn how to actually talk to women. Or, maybe start drinking more. The jury is still out on that one.

Maybe I’ll join a gym or pick up a hobby. Women go to the gym and have hobbies, right? Somebody please help me. I’m not good at this.

With that said, let’s take a look at some areas of my life where the expectations of being in my 30’s did not match up to the reality.

Job

Expectation… I thought there would be a lot more responsibility and prestige in my life at this point. People would say, “Ooooooh, there goes Chris Slater!”

Reality… My job is a thing that I do. Nobody aside from my mother seems to be too impressed with anything about it.

Relationship

Expectation… Something stable, perhaps? Something consistent? Holding hands and walking down the street?

Reality… I once had a girl say to me, “Why are you like this? Why are you unable to commit? What went wrong in your life?” What can I say? I’m still trying to figure out the answers to those questions.

Money

Expectation… The phrase “make it rain” comes to mind.

Reality… I once accidentally paid both a doctor bill and dentist bill at the same time, and then I couldn’t eat for a week and a half.

Hobbies

Expectation… Traveling to fun places, hip clubs, exciting group activities that fosters a series of friendships and community.

Reality… I literally spend 85 percent of my free time sleeping. I’m like a raccoon; stays up all night, bags under my eyes, eats trash, hates people.

Kids

Expectation… Never wanted them. I think they’re gross and loud.

Reality… This is one area where I’m doing good. See, life isn’t all horrible.

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Where are some areas of your life that changed when you turned 30? Either for the better, or worse. Was there anything you expected that ultimately didn’t happen? If you’re approaching 30, what are your thoughts on the subject? Let me know in the comments, or throw me a line on the Twitter or the Facebook. You can even hit up chris.slater@wvgazettemail.com if that’s your preferred method.